Our Mission

Temple Avodat Shalom is a community where individuals and families can worship, study, and assemble within the context of Reform Judaism. We accept and encourage a wide range of ideas and expressions of Judaism.

We provide for the lifelong educational needs of all our congregants, helping to cultivate an appreciation of our heritage and the joys of Judaism. Our educational goals include teaching Jews of all ages a love of God, an understanding of Torah, and identification with Israel.

Our congregation is devoted to acts of loving-kindness (g'milut chasidim) and healing the world (tikkun olam) through our many social action programs within and beyond our Jewish community. We are committed to equality between men and women, reaching out to interfaith couples, and a respect for Jewish ritual traditions. We are dedicated to meeting the needs of our families, with a focus on our children, who are our future. In the spirit of our faith and our founders, we endeavor to provide a warm community and a chain of continuity for all who wish to share our home.

President´s Message

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Temple AvodatShalom’s web site. We hope that you will find on this site virtually all of the information you are seeking about our congregation, our activities and our programs. As hard as we try, what you may find missing on this site is a full sense of the openness and welcoming of our community. The pictures, videos, articles and stories have been selected to convey to the degree possible the warm and welcoming character of Temple Avodat Shalom. That said, the best way to fully appreciate our congregation and our community is to visit our congregation. This site is designed to entice you to join us at a Family Shabbat Service the first Friday of every month when our Plotkin Library is filled with pre-school children and their families, all enjoying the beauty of a Shabbat service and activity geared toward the young and young at heart. This site has been designed to encourage you to stay for our First Friday Shabbat dinner or Family service or for any of our other Shabbat evening and morning services. This site has been designed to entice you to visit our religious school when more than 140 Pre-K-7th grade children learn about the beauty, history and religion of Judaism not only from our award-winning educators but also from the more than 50 Madrichim – our post Bar/Bat Mitzvah teaching assistants who are members of our religious high school, TASTE, not out of a sense of obligation but by choice.

We hope you will see information on this web site that will encourage you to try any of the myriad of adult programs we offer, ranging from weekly Torah study to monthly card games or book club or annual Fashion Show or more. A personal favorite of mine if our annual Jewpardy game, when we have a great time testing our knowledge of a wide range of Jewish topics.

Most importantly, we hope that this web site will encourage you to join us at Temple Avodat Shalom, whether you are a long time member or a first time visitor. As nice as we hope this web site to be, we are a community of neighbors and friends, all committed to building a vibrant Jewish community in central Bergen County. We are honored to have members not only from River Edge, Oradell, Paramus, and Fair Lawn but from all of our neighboring towns as well. 

If I can ever be of assistance, please contact me at president@avodatshalom.net. You also can contact our incredible team of clergy and staff at (201) 489-2463. We hope to see you soon.



Mike Edelstein


Temple Avodat Shalom

Rabbi´s Message

Please Save the Date: Sunday, November 10, 2013 at 3 pm

Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass,” was a pogrom against the Jews of Germany and Austria on the 9th and 10th of November 1938. Windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings and synagogues were shattered. Many Jews were killed and nearly 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. Kristallnacht was an especially dark moment in our history, with many scholars concurring that “The Night of Broken Glass” marked the beginning of “the Final Solution.”

Every year, as part of our ongoing commemoration of the events of the Holocaust, we vow as a people that we will “never forget.” This year, the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, provides us with another opportunity to consider and reflect upon the tragedy of November 9-10, 1938, and to strengthen our resolve, ensuring and hoping that such an event will never happen again.

As part of our annual Lillian Vitello Study Day, Temple Avodat Shalom has invited Dr. Joseph Toltz, Honorary Associate Researcher and lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney to our community. On Sunday, November 10, at 3 pm, Dr. Toltz and Cantor Josephson will coordinate a special commemorative concert, observing the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

Dr. Toltz completed his doctoral dissertation, "Hidden Testimony: musical experience and memory in Jewish Holocaust survivors," in 2010 at the University of Sydney. Most recently he was 2010-11 Barbara and Richard Rosenberg Fellow in the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, where he researched musical testimony recordings from Dr David Boder's 1946 project in the displaced person's camps of Europe. A professional singer who continues to perform in Sydney's only professional choral ensemble, Cantillation, for 13 years he was Cantor and Director of Pastoral Care at Emanuel Synagogue, the largest non-Orthodox Jewish congregation in Australia.

I have known Joseph for over seven years as a colleague and friend and am excited to welcome him to our community. He is passionate, exceptionally knowledgeable and has a beautiful sense of humor. Dr. Toltz and Cantor Josephson are planning an emotional, poignant and reflective afternoon for our community, presenting some musical selections that have never before been played or performed in a public setting. Joseph has also graciously agreed to deliver a d’var Torah on Friday evening, November 8, as part of our 8 pm Shabbat service, sharing more of his research with us.

I hope that you will join us for a beautiful weekend with our special Australian guest, Dr. Joseph Toltz. The concert on Sunday, November 10 is free and open to the public.

Rabbi Paul

Temple Avodat Shalom | 385 Howland Ave. | River Edge, N.J. 07661-1035 | (201) 489-2463

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